OTT viewers to advertisers: hands off my personal data!

August 17th, 2015 by · Leave a Comment

This article was authored by John C. Tanner, and was originally posted on

ITEM: IPTV and OTT video may produce a wealth of actionable data about consumer viewing habits, but most viewers don’t want that data shared with advertisers.

That’s the finding of a survey released by UK-based KPMG Media Tracker, which found that a whopping 95% of consumers who use catch-up services do not want media companies to share their personal data with third parties.

That’s especially true of 18-24-year-olds, 97% of whom said they wouldn’t allow third parties to access their personal data, no matter what the potential benefits of doing so might be.

That’s not great news for marketers who want to use big data to refine and personalize ads for online TV viewers, said KPMG media head David Elms:

“This questions the assumption that the younger generation is comfortable sharing their data if there are benefits offered in return. Generation Z places a high price on privacy, and while some personalisation may be welcome to improve their viewing experience, they are not prepared to readily offer up their data.

“There has been increasing discussion of the use of consumer data for higher levels of personalisation particularly around advertising but this survey highlights that most consumers would resist the use of their data for such purposes.”

That’s also potentially worrying news for media companies who not only rely on advertising for revenue, but also face a dramatically shifting landscape of media consumption and consumer preferences, to include streaming video “anywhere, anytime, on any device”. And while it’s unlikely that advertisers will abandon streaming video services altogether just because viewers won’t opt-in with their personal data, it could make it harder for media companies to offer advertising partners added value via data-rich analytics.

One important caveat: the survey only covers 1,500 homes in the UK. Here in Asia, other surveys on data privacy have found that a significant number of consumers (albeit not always a majority) are more open to sharing personal data, provided it’s handled responsibly and transparently, and provides a tangible benefit.

Still, the numbers send a clear message to next-gen TV service providers (or service providers of any stripe): don’t take viewers’ personal data for granted, and don’t just assume that what they don’t know won’t hurt them.

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Categories: Big Data · Information · Video

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